DSH Boxing Notebook: Muhammad Ali mourned, Salido and Vargas battle to draw

June 7, 2016

This week's version of The Daily Sports Herald's Boxing Notebook reflects on the death of the most well-known and admired person on the planet, The Greatest, Muhammad Ali.  We also take a look at another classic war this past weekend in Carson, California, as well as other top stories in the sport of boxing.  Check out the latest news below in the sweet science:

The Greatest Passes Away

The recent death of former heavyweight great Muhammad Ali has touched many across the globe, including our own reporters at TheDailySportsHerald.com.

Our remembrance on Ali can be found at: http://thedailysportsherald.blogspot.com/2016/06/there-will-never-be-another-muhammad-ali.html.

The consensus among the writers at the DSH is that Ali was the best heavyweight of all-time -- blessed with beautiful footwork, a great chin, tremendous heart, fast hands, accurate combination punching, the speed of an elite middleweight, the willingness to take on anyone, and a mastery of psychological warfare -- but it was his charisma, charm, intelligence, and moral principles outside the ring that made him even more respected as a man.

For anyone who has observed Ali, from afar or face-to-face, his personality made all of us feel this week as if we lost a dear friend, or worse yet, a part of our own identity.

It is sad that we do not have more people like him in today's world.

At a time when athletes consistently sell out for paydays and gutlessly refuse to take a stand on anything of significance, Ali did the opposite for over three years during his prime.  His anti-Vietnam stance was progressive and courageous, as he not only risked incarceration, but also lost the ability to provide for his young family (Ali received almost no financial support from the Nation of Islam).

Similar to his later years in the ring when he became more of a blood-and-guts fighter, Ali adapted, speaking at colleges and performing in a Broadway play in order to make a living.

Imagine if Floyd Mayweather, who laughingly calls himself The Best Ever (a concept that is laughable both in and out of the ring), was placed in a similar situation.

Could Mayweather be informed and knowledgable enough to articulate controversial political viewpoints in a college debate forum with the nation's top intellectuals?  Or would he resort to the cliche-ridden drivel that typically accompanies his statements?

Would Mayweather even take such a principled stand in the first place? Considering how quick he has been to compromise and settle on his various criminal and civil legal entanglements, probably not.

But Mayweather isn't the only one.  This applies to countless athletes from all sports across-the-board,  Tiger Woods being just one example.

Here are a few final thoughts on Ali from around the sports world:

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver:
"Muhammad Ali transcended sports with his outsized personality and dedication to civil rights and social justice.  He was an inspirational presence at several major NBA events and was deeply admired by so many throughout the league.  While we are deeply saddened by his loss, Muhammad Ali's legacy lives on in every athlete who takes a stand for what he or she believes."

Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya:

"It is with great sadness today that we mourn the loss of the Greatest of All Time - Muhammad Ali. I send my deepest condolences to his family, and pray for strength and peace for them during this difficult time."
"Muhammad Ali is a legend and one of the world's most celebrated athletes, the fighter who ushered in the golden era of boxing and put the sport on the map. He paved the way for professional fighters including myself, elevating boxing to become a sport watched in millions of households around the world."
"Ali's talent was undeniable - he was an Olympic Gold Medalist, three-time lineal world heavyweight champion, and the only one to accomplish that to this day, and reached the pinnacle of our sport as the undisputed heavyweight champion in 1964."
"Beyond his incredible talent, he also made boxing interesting. Ali was fearless in the ring, and took on the toughest, most challenging opponents. Ali exemplified courage-he never took the easy route, something to be admired in and outside of the ring."
"As he grew older, he didn't let his physical condition become an excuse to stop working; he continued to work hard, focusing on giving back to the community. Today, as we reflect on his life, let us remember a man who pursued greatness in everything he did and be inspired to hold ourselves to that same standard. Rest in peace, my friend."

Boxer Demetrius Andrade:
“Muhammad Ali certainly shook the world, and not only in boxing.  He was colorful; nobody talked like him.  He helped boxers, too.  Ali is the reason Floyd (Mayweather, Jr.) is who he is because Ali set the bar high." 
“As an entertaining boxer, Ali brought blacks and whites together and later he spread the word about religion, culture and his other diverse interests." 
“What young boxer didn’t do the Ali Shuffle?  I know I did, and taunted my opponents like him, too.” 
Boxer Dominic Breazeale:
“Muhammed Ali was a huge inspiration. Heavy hearts when great ones pass away like that. He was a wonderful man. I never had the opportunity to meet him, but I did meet some of his kids, Layla Ali being one of them."
“Ali was a very inspirational type of individual. You go back and watch some of his fights; I was way too young to see him fight in his prime but I’ve seen the recordings and seen the video footage.  Everyone says he did everything wrong but everything right.  It’s just phenomenal." 
“One of the things I was able to take from watching him fight was his jab. Sometimes he’d beat guys hands down with just his jab.”

Professionals permitted in the Olympics

The recent decision -- many feel a ludicrous one, at that -- to allow professional fighters to box in the Olympics, has brought its share of controversy from the professional ranks.

Some fighters have viewed it as an opportunity for brand expansion, while others have rightfully worried about the health of the amateur boxers competing against the pros.

Here are some thoughts from today's fighters on the new Olympic format:

“I’m for pros in the Olympics as long as an amateur, who has a few Olympic trials, has the first opportunity to qualify for the Olympics.  Coming up in the amateurs, I fought grown men, some who had been Olympians a few times.  I was 21 and some of the opponents were 34-35 and had already been Olympians one or two times.  They had advantages in experience, power and skill.  Unfortunately, Americans only have Olympic opportunities when they’re young amateurs."
“Would I go the Olympics now?  Yes! The Olympics is the biggest thing on the planet.  To represent the United States again, yeah, I’d do it now for the chance to win gold.  But I do think headgear should be applied in amateur boxing, including the Olympics.”

"If you are talking about this Olympics, 2016, I don’t think it would be a wise idea for any professional who just heard the news and would run to the Olympic games right now.  I think there needs to be more time to prepare for it.  The idea of having professional boxers in the Olympics – I am all for it, I like the idea.  If you take any other sport – basketball, tennis – any other sport – they support professional athletes and they participate in the Olympic games and it makes it that much stronger.  I think in the 2020 Olympics there will be a lot more fighters because they will have a lot of time to prepare.  BUT, I do not think the big stars in boxing, like Pacquiao and Mayweather, will take the risks in the Olympic games.  When they go to the games, there is a chance the amateur can win and they won’t want to take the risk."
"I wouldn’t be surprised and I wouldn’t be scared and would just be glad because all of my boxing career I was always saying that if you want to be the best you have to fight the best.  If someone told me that in the 2012 Olympics there would be professional fighters fighting I would be very happy – it would be a big challenge for me.  But you can’t forget, just because you are a professional fighter doesn’t mean you can beat the amateurs.  It’s a different fight.  We have three rounds and then you have to fight every day five or six times.  It is completely different preparation, but that doesn’t mean good professionals cannot beat good amateurs.  Don’t forget the most important thing – you have to weigh-in every day before the bouts.  You can’t do what [Orlando] Salido did.  You can’t weigh-in at 126 then come out at 147 – it’s not going to happen.  Maybe for one bout, but then next day you have to step in and get from 147 to 126?  It is a completely different game and this is probably the main thing -- when you have to be in your weight class six days in a row."

“I think it’s a good thing and a bad thing. AIBA’s doing a good job bringing the councils together and generating a new buzz for the sport. It might be a little too late for some of the professional fighters to get themselves together to compete for their country.  I like the fact that they’re taking the head gear off because that’s the next step after the Olympics. You go into the pros and there’s not going to be any more padded gloves or head gear that you’re wearing so that’s a good thing. As far as the pros, I don’t see any successful pros joining and entering into an amateur competition, but for those that didn’t get a chance to compete in the Olympics they might.”

Vargas and Salido battle to majority draw in Fight of the Year candidate

WBC Super Featherweight World Champion Francisco Vargas (23-0-2, 17 KOs) retained his title via majority draw against former three-time world champion Orlando Salido (42-13-4, 30 KOs, 1 NC) after going the distance in a 12-round bloodbath that would have made Muhammad Ali proud.  The fight took place before a raucous crowd of 7,378 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

Photo Credit: Tom Hogan/Golden Boy Promotions

"I feel really good about this decision," said Vargas. "I knew coming in that I was going to be facing a very tough opponent; however, I didn't expect for him to head butt me and give me so many cuts to the face. I used powerful jabs and countered with ruthlessness. Takashi Miura was a much more powerful puncher, but my respects to Salido. He is a very tough fighter and has a very strong chin. Overall, I'm happy I was able to face this skilled warrior."

Salido and Vargas exchanged heavy blows in the first round, with Salido getting the better of Vargas in a flurry of punches late in the round. Round Four saw Vargas injured, with blood pouring from a cut on his eye obtained by a head butt.

The war continued and brought the crowd to their feet in Round Six when Vargas held Salido against the ropes several times with a flurry of punches. The warriors didn't stop and kept the pressure on each other until round 12, which saw Vargas and Salido unleashing bombs relentlessly until the bell.

"It was a complicated fight like I expected, a very difficult fight from beginning to end with a lot of action," said Salido. "It was a great spectacle for all the fans. They got what they wanted. They wanted to see blood and they saw blood. I would welcome another fight with him. I believe that I won by a slight margin, but I would welcome a rematch. I would also accept the fight from Takashi Miura or from Lomachenko. I'll fight anyone."

Before the fight, attendees lit up their cell phones and ring announcer Michael Buffer told the assembled crowd the story of Ali, describing his life as a boxer and activist, and his impact in the world beyond just sports. He followed with what has become standard for fallen boxers -- ten bells rung to give the final count-out to the legend.

In the controversial co-main event, Abraham Lopez (21-0-1, 15 KOs) of La Puente, Calif. made his HBO debut and received what many felt was a gift decision, handing prospect Julian Ramirez (16-1, 8 KOs) of East Los Angeles his first professional loss to claim the vacant NABA Featherweight Title.

"It was a close fight, my respects for Julian he definitely is a hard puncher," said Lopez. "But I'm not hurt, I was able to counter the punches he came at me with. This victory opens doors for me; it moves me up to the next level in my career and gives me the opportunities to fight for a world title. I'm glad I listened to my corner, that's what ultimately helped get the victory tonight."

Throughout the early rounds, Ramirez and Lopez traded massive blows that left the crowd in gasps and cheers. Midway through the fourth round, Ramirez managed to catch Lopez with a few solid shots across the jaw.

In the sixth round, Lopez opened up a deep gash across the right brow of Ramirez.  In a unanimous decision, the judges awarded the victory - and the NABA belt - to Lopez.

"This was a really tough fight," said Ramirez. "I knew he would be a tough opponent, and that's what I trained hard for. I know that he won some rounds, but I thought that I did very well out there. And I thought that I had a very good shot at winning this. I feel that the decision should have been much closer. But it is what it is, and that's boxing."

"King" Gabriel Rosado (23-9, 13 KOs) of Philadelphia and Tijuana's Antonio "Tony" Gutierrez (20-2-1, 9 KOs) faced off for a 10-round middleweight bout that turned into a narrow final decision.

In the early rounds, Gutierrez focused on working Rosado's body with repeated left jabs and combos to his midsection. Rosado countered with a number of strong shots to Gutierrez's head over the top of his guard and uppercuts. Gutierrez caught Rosado late in the second round with a strong right cross that seemed to momentarily daze his opponent.

In the fourth round, Gutierrez caught Rosado with a shot that toppled him to the mat before Rosado surged back with a number of strong punches. Over the next few rounds, both fighters periodically traded heavy blows in a game of back-and-forth for control of the fight.

In scoring that indicated how close the fight was (95-94, 96-93, 95-94), Rosado emerged with the hard-earned unanimous decision.

"I was hoping this fight would go a little differently," said Rosado. "I wasn't expecting to get knocked down. I know that I was making some mistakes in my rounds, and he was coming at me really hard. I know that I have a lot of support out here. This was a learning experience for me - despite my flaws, I was able to get back up and take this victory."

Talkin' Smack

Nobody was a better talker than the late Muhammad Ali.  Here is some recent chatter from around the sweet science:

"Yes, the key to the fight is not letting Lomachenko think.  You have to pressure him and attack him because he is a very good technical boxer and he knows how to attack.  So when he wants to come in you have to be smart about it and let him come in and exchange but the key is attacking the body and not let him think."

“Not looking past Willie Nelson but me, my character, my hard work and my ethics, I’m looking to be the best and fight the best out there. I want to put out there and say congratulations to the Charlo twins on making history for being twin brothers to win (titles). But I’m going to make history by taking both of those titles and beating both of them."

“I’m going to knock out the Charlo twins.  Both guys have fought on Showtime, so those fights shouldn’t be too difficult to make.  Once I take care of business with the Charlo twins, I’ll fight Lara (WBA champion) to clean up the division.”

“We know Porter is a come-forward fighter – he is going to try to be on Keith’s chest. I want Keith to box, use his power, use his jab, and use his feints to work the body from the inside. All the things Keith knows how to do. Porter is not a real technical fighter so we’re working on using that to our advantage.”

DOMINIC BREAZEALE, on his opponent Anthony Joshua:
“I think, in general, he’s kind of had a little bit of a stepping stone as far as fighting in the Olympics in his backyard, having the judges there in his backyard. I don’t know if you saw the fight but when he fought in that final match for the Gold Medal, I was sitting third row and I hands down believe that (he lost). But you know, when you’ve got judges on your side, in your own country, Olympics in your own country, it looks better when the home native wins."

“Even as a professional, he fought a guy in Charles Martin that really didn’t show up fight night. Charles Martin himself had an easy road and path to the title with the whole slip and fall against Glazkov. When you think of a heavyweight champion you want to make sure he’s fought the best, and I think that’s why Joshua has chosen me as his opponent to defend against. That’s what he plans on getting out of the situation if he can make it through the 12 rounds. I plan on putting on some extreme pressure and taking Joshua to a new level of boxing, and we’ll find out June 25.”

"The biggest concern coming from amateur to professional was to adapt to that dirty style of boxing.  It’s not that there are not dirty fighters in the amateurs, it is that in the amateurs the referee will put a stop to it right away.  In the Salido fight, for me, the toughest part was adapting to dirty boxing."

DEMETRIUS ANDRADE, on Gennady Golovkin:
 “I definitely want to fight Golovkin.  Let me build myself up first, by cleaning out the 154-division, and then we’ll have a mega-fight with two different styles.  GGG is known for his knockouts.  I knock out people, too, but I’m a better boxer than him.  It’ll be one of the biggest fights in the sport of boxing.  I’m going to clean up the 154-division, make my reputation and then it’s a go with GGG.”

“My goal is to be known as the hardest hitting welterweight in the division. My lifelong goal is to be the undisputed welterweight champion of the world – and I have a ways to go in unifying the titles. Once I move past Shawn [Porter] I look forward to the challenge of making my dreams come true. I’m blessed to be where I am today.”
Andrade ready for bout with Nelson

Undefeated super welterweight Demetrious "Boo Boo" Andrade is in a good place as he prepares for his June 11 showdown versus Willie "The Great" Nelson on Showtime (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) from Turning Stone Casino in Verona, N.Y.

Approaching the peak of his professional boxing career, the 28-year-old Andrade (22-0, 15 KOs) has moved past a frustrating three-year stretch that, after he won a 12-round decision over Vanes Masrtirosyan for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) 154-pound world title, found him fighting only twice.

One was his only title defense, in which he won impressively by way of a seventh-round stoppage of then WBO No. 1 mandatory title challenger Brian Rose.  But, due to promotional issues, Andrade was later stripped by the WBO for inactivity.  His last fight was this past October when he recorded a second-round knockout of Dario Fabian Pucheta for the WBO International belt.

"I've always been in a good place, mentally, because I have confidence in myself," said Andrade on what he went through during his long stretch outside of the ring.  "I continued training hard. The politics of boxing, well, I'm not 100 percent there yet.  Not until I'm actually in the ring and fighting will I actually know if that's worked out for me."

Now, Andrade has a new three-year promotional contract that gives his company, A Team Promotions, 50 percent of his promotional rights to go along with 25 percent each for Banner Promotions and Star Boxing.

"I'm satisfied in my future, showcasing myself in the ring," said Andrade. "I own 50 percent of myself and that - being a promoter - is a big factor.  I know everything now, including all the real numbers, and I've learned about the ins and outs of this business.  I'm also meeting the right network of people to help my career."

Andrade-Nelson is a 12-round WBC title elimination fight to determine the second mandatory challenger for new WBC Super Welterweight Champion Jermell Charlo, who, as the WBC No. 1 contender was matched last May 21 with No. 2 rated John Jackson.

No. 3 Andrade was originally slated to face No. 5 Charles Hatley in a title eliminator to determine the No. 1 mandatory contender.  However, negotiations with Hatley's promoter, Don King, failed to materialize and Andrade moved on to fight WBC No. 10 Nelson.

The WBC declared Hatley as Charlo's mandatory challenger, despite him being ranked lower than Andrade, with the Andrade-Nelson winner now declared the mandatory title challenger for the future Charlo-Hatley victor.

Andrade, though, has no hard feelings with the WBC about its decisions.  "I'm just thankful to be fighting in this 'tournament'," he commented.  "Charlo was the WBC International champion and he should have had the opportunity to fight for the vacant title.  I have the WBO International title, Hatley the WBC Silver title, so Hatley should probably have been ranked higher than me by the WBC.  I respect the WBC's decision to make him the first mandatory challenger."

Nelson (25-2-1, 15 KOs) and Andrade are familiar with each other through the USA Boxing amateur program, but the two have never met in the ring.

"Nelson lets his hands go," Andrade noted.  "He likes to mix it up and so do I.  I like to think that I'm a little smarter than him in the ring.  This is going to be an interesting fight.  I respect him for taking the fight and I'm preparing to fight the toughest opponent I've ever faced.  He may be the tallest guy (6' 3") I've ever fought as a pro, but it's only a few inches, and not a big deal."

Andrade is back on his way to reaching the peak of the 154-pound division once again.

"I am ready to set the roof on fire on June 11," Andrade said.  "Once everyone at 154 pounds gets a taste of me, they will know I am the greatest.  The Charlos made history by becoming the first twins to hold titles in the same weight division.  I will make history by beating both of them.  Then I will beat Lara and unify all of the belts. Stay tuned.  I am a force to be reckoned with.  I will show the world that the best 154 pound fighter in the world is Demetrius Andrade."
Beterbiev stops Maderna in 4

Hard-hitting, 31-year-old Russian Olympian Artur Beterbiev (10-0, 10 KOs) returned to the ring after an almost year-long layoff following shoulder surgery to dominate Argentina's Ezequiel Maderna Saturday night in Montreal.

''I am really satisfied by my performance," said Beterbiev. "I want to thank my team for their patience during my inactivity."

Now seven months removed from the procedure, Beterbiev looked sharp from the opening bell, as he threw straight right hands and body shots effectively to start the fight.

Maderna, who was also coming off of a long layoff, was hoping to make a statement in his first fight on North American soil as he moved up in weight for this bout. Beterbiev utilized his power and precision to control the entire fight, but kicked it into high gear in the third round, sending the 29-year-old Maderna to the canvas with two right hands. He stood up, but soon after was sent to the canvas again. This time, spitting out his mouth piece to delay the bout, and causing Referee Marlon B. Wright to deduct a point.

At the start of round four, Maderna was dropped with a punishing right hand. He rose to his feet only find himself on the canvas again and looking at his corner.  They threw in the towel and the fight was stopped at 54 seconds of Round Four.

''My guy did really well after an absence of a year," said Beterbiev's trainer Marc Ramsay. "He is very special. In a short or medium period of time, we want to fight in a world championship."

The PBC card opened with two welterweight southpaws facing off in hopes of maintaining their undefeated records. However, it didn't take long for Florida's Bryant Perrella (14-0, 13 KOs), who came out into the ring wearing a tuxedo, to prove he was the better man as he scored a second round TKO over Washington, D.C.'s David Grayton (14-1, 10 KOs).

Grayton was more active at the beginning of the fight, working his right hand on the inside. Perrella used his longer reach and height difference to his advantage as he did his best to dictate the pace.

Perrella knocked Grayton down in the beginning of the second round and became forceful with the right hand as Grayton left himself open to punishment. Finally, Perrella threw a left that caused Grayton to stumble and referee David Griffin waved off the fight at 2:19.

"He came in real tough - a tough competitor," said Perrella. "I was the best man tonight. I caught him with some really hard shots, dazed him. I took my time, I listened to what my team said and got him out of there.

"This is tremendous," Perella continued. "This is what we've been wanting for a while to fight another undefeated prospect and get the recognition we feel we deserve. The welterweight division is filled with lions, tigers and bears, but I'm Tarzan baby. I'm the king of this jungle. I'm ready for whatever."

Also featured on the telecast was a six-round super welterweight contest between prospect Jamontay Clark (10-0, 6 KOs) of Cincinnati and Mexican warrior Edgar Ortega (16-6, 10 KOs).

The game Ortega shocked the six-foot-two Clark in the first round, sending him to the canvas with a hard right hand. Clark regained his composure in between the first and second, controlling the fight for the remaining rounds.

Despite taking the fight with nine days' notice, Ortega stayed with Clark all six rounds, even after rolling his ankle in the fourth. After the final bell rung, Clark remained undefeated, registering a unanimous decision victory with the judges scoring the bout 58-55 and 58-54 (twice).

Shumenov aims for a bout with Lebedev

WBA cruiserweight world champion Beibut Shumenov (17-2, 10 KOs) stopped No. 11-rated Junior "Hurricane" Wright (15-2-1, 12 KOs) in the 10th round of their May 21st title fight to remain the mandatory challenger for unified WBA Super/IBF cruiserweight world champion Denis Lebedev (29-2, 22 KOs).  The WBA mandated a Lebedev-Shumenov fight within 120 days of May 21.

Shumenov, 32, is a 2004 Kazakhstan Olympian who lives and trains in Las Vegas.  During his 9-year professional boxing career, Shumenov has defeated four world champions - Gabriel Campillo, Byron Mitchell, William Joppy, and Montell Griffin - as well as seven world title challengers.  He is 8-2 (4 KOs) in world title fights

Below is a recent one-on-one interview with Shumenov:

Evaluate your performance against Junior Wright in your last fight?

BS: "I am 100-percent a completely different fighter than in my previous fight against B.J. Flores.   But, at the beginning of this fight, I had a little bit of ring rust.  The inactivity is really hard for me.   I would like to be busier and fight more often.   I already started training and doing light exercises, right after my fight on May 21st.   In my next fight, I will be even more different fighter against Lebedev."

You've always wanted to unify as a way of determining who the best or real champ is. In 2011, you almost fought a unification as WBA light heavyweight but then-WBO champion Juergen Braehmer who suddenly went home a few days before the scheduled unification fight. How does it feel to know that you will be fighting Lebedev for WBA super and IBF cruiserweight titles within 120 days from May 21?

BS: "This has always been my goal - to unify - and I'm motivated even more knowing that I am going to fight for those two titles very soon."

Do you think a deal will be made between your manager, Al Haymon, and Lebedev's promoter, Andrei Ryabinsky, or will it go to purse bid?

BS: "It doesn't concern me, whether it goes to a purse bid, or where the location is.  However, I hope the parties can get the best deal worked out for everyone involved."

If Lebedev doesn't want to fight you and he relinquishes his WBA super title belt, where do you go from there, fight second-mandatory challenger Yunier Dorticos?

BS: "I have heard rumors that Lebedev doesn't want to fight me and, if this is true and he relinquishes his WBA Super belt, then I want to fight Dorticos because every organization should only have one champion in each division.   I hope this isn't the case, as I have been waiting to fight Lebedev since I won the WBA interim title (mandatory) back in July of 2015.  The WBA has ordered us to fight within 120 days of May 21st.  I am ready, willing and able to fight him and I hope he is ready, too."

Ronny Rios victorious at LA Fight Club

Santa Ana fan favorite and current WBC Silver Featherweight titleholder Ronny Rios (25-1, 10 KOs) came back in the ring for the first time since defeating Jayson "La Maravilla" Velez on the Cotto vs. Canelo undercard last November to face Efrain Esquivias (17-4-1, 10 KOs) in a featherweight fight.

Rios entered with a vengeance, knocking Esquivias down in the first round with his powerful punches, and then ending the bout in Round Two by TKO.

"I knew Esquivias from my amateur days, and I remember him being a tough fighter," said Rios after the bout. "I know that I trained harder, and prepared for this fight as if I would have prepared for a champion fight. This is just another step in the ladder to get my shot at a world title."

The televised co-main event brought the likes of Brooklyn's undefeated Zachary "Zungry" Ochoa (15-0, 7 KOs) fighting Puerto Rico's Luis Joel Gonzalez (11-4-1, 6 KOs) in an eight-round super lightweight fight.

Despite Ochoa putting on the pressure with his impressive reach, Gonzalez was able to knock Zachary down in the third round for a brief second. For the duration of the fight the two fighters danced around each other, exchanging blocks and jabs.

Eventually, "Zungry" struck his opponent with a right jab in the seventh round in the most devastating knockout of the night -- proving his sheer speed and strength to be too much for Gonzalez to handle.

"In this fight, I proved that I could make it all eight rounds, while maintaining all my power," said Ochoa. "The endurance in my legs kept me steady throughout the fight. I saw the opportunity, and in the moment that I threw my right overhand punch, I knew he wasn't going to get back up. This victory is just another win to get me closer to my dreams."

June 10 "Knockout Night at the D" to feature grudge match

An old-time grudge match between lightweights Demond "Body Shot" Brock and Chuy "Hurrican" Gutierrez will headline the third installment of the "Knockout Night at the D" series, Friday night, June 10, airing (11 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. PT) live on CBS Sports Network from the outdoor Downtown Las Vegas Events Center (DLVEC).

"Brock versus Chuy has been a fight in the making for years and now the dream is a reality," said Keith Veltre, Co-Founder of Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions.  "As Brock defends his title, Chuy will fight to the end to regain the title that he let lapse.  This fight promises to be an all-out war and the winner will move into a national spotlight.  Thanks to the 'Knock out Night at the D' series, Derek Stevenson is giving Las Vegas prospects an opportunity to make a national presence."

Brock (11-3-1, 4 KOs) will defend his USNBC title against former USNBC lightweight champ Gutierrez (14-0-1, 4 KOs), who never lost his belt in the ring, which has set the stage for this Las Vegas showdown to determine who the USNBC belt  truly belongs to.  Adding fuel to the fire is the fact both fighters train in Las Vegas and have growing fan-bases.

The 35-year-old Brock, who fights out of Kenner, Louisiana, learned to box in the Louisiana State Penitentiary, while serving his 14 ½-year sentence there for armed robbery.  In prison, he won 39 of 40 fights with 17 knockouts, eventually finishing his amateur career with an outstanding 54-3 record.

Last November in El Paso, Brock upset 9-1-1 Oscar Valenzuela, capturing the vacant WBC United States (USNBC) lightweight title by way of a unanimous 8-round decision.

Gutierrez is from Sinaloa, Mexico, the home of Hall-of-Famer Julio Cesar Chavez among many other top fighters born there.  A love of baseball kept Gutierrez occupied, until, as he says, "boxing found me."

Gutierrez was attending college at South Nevada and working, still dreaming of becoming a major league baseball player, when he walked into the famed Johnny Tocco's Ringside Boxing gym at the age of 21.

Bitten by the boxing bug, Gutierrez turned pro in in 2010 and he's rapidly developed into a fan-friendly fighter, largely due to his aggressive, entertaining style.  In 2014, Gutierrez won an 8-round majority decision over Rashad Ganaway (14-4-1) for the vacant USNBC lightweight crown.

The unbeaten Gutierrez wants his belt back and he's determined to take it from Brock, who, of course, believes otherwise.  They will settle the score June 10th in the 10-round main event that promises fireworks.

The 6-round co-feature pits undefeated Mexican junior middleweight prospects Rolando Garza (7-0, 5 KOs) and Erasmo Garcia (6-0, 4 KOs) in a televised fight.  The TV opener finds a pair of unbeaten welterweight prospects, Las Vegas' popular Jeremy "J-Flash" Nichols (4-0, 2 KOs) and New Mexico's Adam Vasquez (5-0-1), squaring off in a 4-round bout.

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services

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